Drafted by the Calgary Flames in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft (Rd. 4, #116 overall), Szuper played for the Flames former affiliate, the Saint John Flames in 2000-01 after playing hockey in his native country, Hungary, and for the Ottawa 67’s of the OHL, winning a Memorial Cup with the club in 1998-99.
Szuper appeared in 112 games for the Saint John Flames and added to his trophy cabinet a Calder Cup with the Flames during his rookie season where the netminder appeared in 34 games and one playoff game. He received his first and only NHL call during the 2002-03 season, serving as a backup for Jamie McLennan for nine games after an injury to Flames starter Roman Turek.
Szuper would be picked up by the St. Louis Blues in 2003-04 and assigned to their ECHL affiliate before returning to Europe during the lockout season of 2004. It wouldn’t be till 2010 when Szuper signed with the Central Hockey League’s Arizona Sundogs. The following season, Szuper would be traded to the Missouri Mavericks where he’d appear in one game and eventually returning to Europe.
Szuper does rank on the Flames Top Affiliate all-time lists as the tied-10th winningest goaltender (Mike Vernon), sixth best goals-against-average (2.50), tied-14th best save-percentage (.903 with Joni Ortio), tied-fourth all-time in shutouts (8 with Daniel Taylor) and is eighth all-time in games played (112).
Goalie Josh Robinson was called up on a professional tryout contract during the Stockton Heat’s inaugural season on March 29 as part of the goaltending carousel that plagued the Heat in their first season.
Robinson, who Stockton Thunder fans saw during his time playing with the Idaho Steelheads in 2012-13 and 2013-14, was having a career year with the Mavericks at the time of his call-up, leading the ECHL with a 1.84 goals-against-average and .930 save-percentage while ranking second in the league in wins with 27. In fact, Robinson posted a 28-2-1 record for the Mavericks in 2015-16 en route to the team’s first Brabham Cup as the top team in the regular season.
Robinson would be named the ECHL’s Goalie of the Year during the 2015-16 season and named to the ECHL’s First All-Star Team, but unfortunately the club ran into the eventual champions, the Allen Americans, who would end the Mavs magical season in the second round of the playoffs, winning the series 4-2.
The goaltender began 2016-17 in Europe, moving to Norway before eventually returning to the USA with the Mavs during the 2016-17 season. He received another call to the AHL with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers last year but didn’t appear in game action for the New York Islanders AHL affiliate.
We begin with a goaltender who initially struggled to make a name for himself to start his career in Shane Owen. Owen bounced around a lot when turning pro, playing for two ECHL clubs and one AHL club during his rookie season in 2010-11, then suiting up for three ECHL clubs in 2011-12.
In 2012-13, the netminder split the year between the ECHL and the LNAH in Quebec where it seemed like his career was sputtering. However, it’d be Mavericks coach Scott Hillman who’d give him his best break in 2013-14 with the Central Hockey League club.
Owen had a monster season, suiting up in 52 of the clubs 66 games, posting a 35-15-1 record with a 2.58 GAA, a .917 SV% and one shutout. That paved the way for his return to the ECHL where Thunder Head Coach Rich Kromm brought him in as the starter for the Stockton Thunder.
In 19 games, Owen was 6-11-0, but made some dazzling saves during his time with the club before reuniting with his old Mavs coach, Scott Hillman, with the Indy Fuel in a midseason trade.
While Owen didn’t replicate the success he had in 2013-14 with the Mavs, he has moved across the pond, playing in England this past season and signed up to play his first season in the Swedish second division with BIK Karlskoga
After winning two NCAA Championships with Boston College in 2010 and 2012, even being named as the tournament’s MVP in his most recent title, Parker Milner signed with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers and turned pro with the Stockton Thunder in 2013-14.
Milner’s rookie season saw him go 9-14-2 but posted a 2.84 GAA and a .907 SV% with the Thunder. He did however receive his first call to the AHL during his rookie season, appearing in 8 games for the Sound Tigers, posting a 4-2-0 record.
After his first deal expired, the goaltender has bounced around a bit, spending 2014-15 with the Quad City Mallards, but was eventually brought back to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers organization and assigned to the Missouri Mavericks in 2015-16.
With the Mavs, Milner went 17-7-1 with an impressive 2.17 GAA and .925 SV%, leading the team to the postseason where they ran into the eventual champions, the Allen Americans. This past season, Milner was signed to an AHL deal with the Hershey Bears and assigned to their ECHL affiliate where he’d play in his most successful season to date. Milner posted a career high with 26 wins and lead the South Carolina Stingrays to the Kelly Cup Finals where the Stingrays would fall to the Colorado Eagles.
Certainly impressive for the 26-year-old is that in all four years pro, Milner has suited up in AHL action. Perhaps this seasons success in South Carolina could lead to another look for the college champion.
A popular fixture on the Stockton Thunder blueline for parts of two seasons, Oslanski turned pro with the Thunder and helped the Thunder to their most successful season ever, where the team went to the Kelly Cup Finals in 2013.
Playing six games as a rookie, the talented defenseman picked up his first pro point and finished the postseason just minus-1. In 2013, Oslanski’s first full pro season saw the defenseman pot 8 goals and add 19 assists for 27 points, and added a pair of assists in the Thunder’s playoff appearance where they’d eventually be ousted in the second round by their rival, the Condors.
While Oslanski began 2014-15 with the Thunder, he’d be traded just before the season to the Rapid City Rush in what would be a wild year for the second-year defenseman. Scoring 18 points in the first part of the season, Oslanski was named to the ECHL All-Star game but afterward, the Rush would deal the defender to the Mavericks where he struggled to find the same offensive success that he had earlier in the year.
He’d eventually find himself on the Alaska Aces to end the season, which is where he began the 2015-16 season before again finding a new home, this time with the Wichita Thunder, where he’d play 53 games, the most games for a single team since departing the Thunder.
This past season, Oslanski began the year with the Thunder before being moved to the Toledo Walleye for the playoff push. Oslanski had 6 points in 15 playoff games for the Walleye before being ousted.
Hard to believe but the 25-year-old defenseman is just 23 games away from suiting up in his 300th regular season ECHL game.
After 202 games in the Quebec league, defenseman Loic Leduc would begin his pro career with the Stockton Thunder after being assigned to the club by the New York Islanders, who drafted the defenseman in the fourth round of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft (#103 overall).
The 6-foot-7, defenseman played 44 games for the Thunder during 2014-15 but would eventually be recalled by the Islanders and reassigned to the Colorado Eagles, as the Islanders were looking to get Leduc in postseason action, something that was not going to happen during the Thunder’s 10th Anniversary season.
However, the Eagles season didn’t last much longer as four games later, the Eagles would be out, as would be the Islanders affiliation in Stockton due to the Heat’s arrival.
So it’d be the Missouri Mavericks where Leduc found home next, while also suiting up for his first dose of AHL action with the Sound Tigers during the 2015-16 season. Leduc played 21 games with the Mavs, scoring a goal and adding an assist while posting an even rating.
This past season, Leduc played solely in the AHL with the Sound Tigers, suiting up in 33 games for the club. While still very young at just 22, has completed his entry level deal and is now a restricted free agent. He’s now suited up in 76 ECHL games to go along with 53 AHL games.
Another popular figure not just in Stockton but in the Bay with Mavericks ties is defensive leader Scott Langdon. “Langer” as he was known played at Niagara University and would turn pro with the Reading Royals in 2008-09. After two years with the Royals and a brief stint in England, Langdon would return to the states but head to the Central Hockey League and the Allen Americans. He’d also make his AHL debut during that 2010-11 season with the Lake Erie Monsters.
In 2012-13, Langdon would return to ECHL action with the San Francisco Bulls, serving as the clubs alternate captain during their inaugural season. He’d play 67 games for the club posting 12 points, his best point total since 2010-11, and a career high of 150 penalty minutes.
In 2013-14, Langdon would return to the Bulls and serve as the teams captain, but midway through the season, the Bulls folded and Langdon was looking for work. While he initially latched on with the South Carolina Stingrays, he was then on the market for a team looking to the playoffs, so Thunder coach Rich Kromm made sure that Langdon would be returning to Northern California. Langdon was a big boost to the Thunder’s already stout blueline, but injuries in the first and second round of the postseason stumbled the Thunder.
He then moved to the Mavericks the following season, who made the transition from the now dissolved Central Hockey League and into the ECHL. He suited up in 45 games with the Mavs in what would be his final season.
While Noble missed the regular season, he would make his pro debut in the playoffs, suiting up in 9 games for the Mavs and finishing his first pro action plus-4.
In 2012-13 he’d be brought in by Coach Matt Thomas and the Thunder, skating in 24 games with the club and earning his first pro points in his three assists. The following season he’d return to Thunder but was let go early after failing to get into a game and he’d sign with the St. Charles Chill.
In 2014-15, Noble would return to the ECHL and play a career high 68 games with the Tulsa Oilers, posting a career high of 21 points (1-20-21) and helping the Oilers reach the postseason. Since then, Noble’s been in England playing for the Coventry Blaze, where he’s played 85 games in his English hockey career and has already resigned with the club for the 2017-18 season.
The French-Canadian speedster finished his 253-game Quebec Major Junior career in 2010-11 and turned pro with the Stockton Thunder in 2011-12, where he’d play in 26 games before missing 44-consecutive games due to injury, which in fact was a huge blow to Matt Thomas’ Thunder as the rookie forward was lighting the scoresheet up, eventually finishing the regular season with 23 points in 26 games.
Levesque was a key contributor on the Thunder team in 2012-13 that would go to the Kelly Cup Finals, adding 65 games and besting his rookie point total with 31 points and skating in 19 Kelly Cup Playoff games for the Thunder.
Unfortunately finding a consistent place to play over the next little while for Levesque was difficult. While he played all of 2013-14 with the Quad City Mallards in the Central Hockey League, his 2014-15 was spread across the world, playing games here and there for Gap in France, the Peoria Rivermen and Huntsville Havoc of the Souther Professional League, and the South Carolina Stingrays, Bakersfield Condors and Mavericks of the ECHL. For the Mavs, his final team of the season, Levesque appeared in just 4 games with the club.
Since then, Levesque returned home to Quebec to play in the LNAH league with the Laval Predateurs and Riviere-du-Loup 3L. He moved from French-Canada to France in 2016-17, playing for Frances second division and rekindling some of his offensive success he had earlier in his career. He’s now moved up to France’s top division with Dijon for the 2017-18 season.
Size, toughness and flexibility made Riley Emmerson, who suited up as both forward and a defenseman in his career, a long minor-pro career which began all the way back in 2006-07. After a long stint with the Texas Wildcatters of the ECHL, Emmerson would move around a bit, including playing some AHL action, and eventually land with the Springfield Falcons on an AHL deal.
The Falcons would assign the 6-foot-8 utility man to the Stockton Thunder in 2009-10, where Emmerson would suit up in 46 contests posting a goal and five assists to go along with 78 penalty minutes.
After stints with Utah and Toledo (with a little AHL action with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers), Emmerson would turn to the Central Hockey League and the Mavericks in 2012-13, where he’d play 55 games for the club, scoring 5 goals and sitting in the box for 95 minutes. He’d also appear in five postseason games that season as well.
The following season saw Emmerson begin in San Francisco with the Bulls and move to Southern California with the Ontario Reign of the ECHL before finishing his season, which turned out to be his final in North America, back in the Central Hockey League with the Arizona Sundogs.
After his most productive season in 2014-15 with the Edinburgh Capitals in England, recording 29 points (12-17-29), Emmerson returned to the club for one more year where his point total was cut large with just 6 points in 38 games.
Emmerson announced his retirement in May of 2016.
If you blinked you may have missed this last one but Garrett Ladd was brought into the mix by Rich Kromm during the tough final season of Stockton Thunder hockey after a very prolific career in the NCAA’s third division with the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.
Kromm had watched Ladd, along with fellow amateur tryout call-up at the end of the season Kyle Brodie, due to the pair playing with his son. Having seen Ladd score 35 goals and register 89 points in his NCAA-DIII career, Kromm brought him up for a taste of the pro game.
In 4 games with the Stockton Thunder, Ladd would register his first pro goal against the Ontario Reign and would secure himself a contract with the Adirondack Thunder for the following season. However, Ladd couldn’t initially replicate the success he had in his college days.
After playing just 8 games for Cail MacLean’s side, Ladd would find himself looking for a new team, which ended up being the Elmira Jackals. Just 4 points in 16 games later, Ladd would be on his way to suit up for the Mavericks where he’d finish a disappointing season with just 8 points in 40 games.
He did impress one team though in the Tulsa Oilers, who would sign Ladd for the 2016-17 season and he delivered on his upside. Ladd recorded 34 points (17-17-34) in 58 games for the Oilers in a resurgent season for the club.